On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month in Darius' second year as king, the LORD spoke his word to the prophet Haggai. He said,
"This is what the LORD of Armies says: Ask the priests for a decision.
Suppose a person carries meat set aside for a holy purpose and he folds it up in his clothes. If his clothes touch bread, boiled food, wine, oil, or any kind of food, does that make the food holy?" The priests answered, "No."
Haggai asked, "Suppose a person becomes unclean by touching a corpse. If he touches any of these things, does that make them unclean?" The priests answered, "That makes them unclean."
Then Haggai answered, "In the same way, I have decided that these people are unclean, and so is this nation, declares the LORD. So is everything they do. Whatever offering they bring is unclean.
"And from now on, carefully consider this. Consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the temple of the LORD.
When anyone came to a pile of grain [to get] 20 measures, there would be only 10. And when anyone came to a wine vat to draw out 50 measures, there would be only 20 in it.
I infested all your work with blight and mildew and struck it with hail. But you didn't come back to me, declares the LORD.
Carefully consider from now on, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day when the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. Carefully consider:
Is there any seed left in the barn? The vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree still haven't produced. But from now on I will bless you."